In a bizarre and rare press conference Wednesday, President Donald Trump defended embattled Judge Brett Kavanaugh ahead of a high-profile hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Christine Blasey Ford, one of three women who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, will testify Thursday about an instance in high school when Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her.
During the wide-ranging press conference, Trump called the Democrats “obstructionists” and claimed they had “destroyed a man’s reputation.”
“It’s not going to change the Democrats’ minds,” he said. “They know it’s a big, fat con job. They go into a room and I guarantee you they laugh like hell at what they’ve pulled off.”
The focus briefly turned to Trump’s past. Since 2016, more than a dozen women have accused him of sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault—allegations Trump’s White House has dismissed in the past. “When you say, does it affect me in terms of my thinking with respect to Judge Kavanaugh? Absolutely. Because I’ve had it many times,” Trump said.
Trump also told reporters he could delay a meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein so it didn’t coincide with the Kavanagh hearing. “I don’t want to do anything that gets in the way,” he said.
When asked whether he thought the three accusers were liars, Trump replied he couldn’t say but called one of the accuser’s lawyers, Michael Avenatti, a “lowlife.” He went on to call Kavanaugh “one of the most respected people in Washington.” If Trump thought his nominee “was guilty of something like this,” he said, he would reconsider his choice.
He rejected the idea of meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and claimed America would be at war with North Korea had he not been elected. He accused China of interfering in US elections but refused to elaborate when asked for evidence: “I can’t tell you now.”
Trump also repeated a false claim that 52 percent of women voted for him in the 2016 election, a figure that only applies to white women. And he clarified that representatives at the UN weren’t laughing at him—hey were laughing with him.
The press conference was not received terribly well.
This is Alex Jones level stuff from the President right now.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 26, 2018
Watch the whole thing here, or scroll down for highlights—and lowlights.
Here’s that “con job” business…
President Trump on the FBI investigating the Kavanaugh allegations: "I think when you really look at it all, it's not gonna change any of the Democrats' minds. They are obstructionists … And they know it is a big, fat con job." pic.twitter.com/vmuk1kA00K
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 26, 2018
And a small aside…
"What does he mean by that?"
US President Donald Trump fires back after a male journalist suggests he invite a female reporter to ask a question at UN press conference https://t.co/Ho7fsxxD6i pic.twitter.com/mo5ZThnhgI
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 26, 2018
George Washington? What?
Trump is questioned by @NBCNews' @HallieJackson and says, "George Washington would be voted against by Schumer & the con artists." https://t.co/YWYfHrExAR #11MSNBC #11thHour pic.twitter.com/xniw6ZjGwJ
— 11th Hour (@11thHour) September 26, 2018
This claim came out of left field…
Trump claims that four or five his accusers were paid money and then blames the media pic.twitter.com/wg3awJLyv2
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) September 26, 2018
But what do you really think of Michael Avenatti, Mr. President?
Reporter: "Do you think these women, all three of them, are liars?"
"I can't tell you, I have to watch tomorrow … I just heard about one a little while ago. I can tell you, her lawyer is a lowlife," President Trump says, alluding to Michael Avenatti https://t.co/QfK77lhmlC pic.twitter.com/Tbw1tFGlF4
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 26, 2018
Will he stay or will he go?
"My preference would be to keep him and to let him finish up," Pres. Trump says of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, adding "many people say I have the right to absolutely fire him." https://t.co/NkJuIoh4fP pic.twitter.com/csCSyHG164
— ABC News (@ABC) September 26, 2018
And who would laugh at a man with a very, very large brain?
Trump, asked by @EamonJavers if he has evidence that China is interfering in U.S. elections, responds by saying he does but "I can't tell you now." The president added that China "has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump's very, very large brain" pic.twitter.com/Vl9PIRFuBk
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) September 26, 2018
Acknowledging the obvious…
Pres. Trump on delays in Kavanaugh confirmation: "The people who have complained to me about it the most… are women. Women are very angry."
"Women are so angry, and I frankly think that… I think they like what the Republicans are doing." https://t.co/syOJY3luie pic.twitter.com/PvGpu0WiCr
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) September 26, 2018
TRUMP: "I don't like NAFTA. I've never liked it. It's been very bad for the United States. It's been great for Canada and great for Mexico. I'm not going to use the name NAFTA. I refuse to use it." pic.twitter.com/w8fvKIWWru
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 26, 2018
Trump addresses a reporter as "Mr. Kurd" pic.twitter.com/fiYhHODYaE
— Deena Zeina Zaru 👩🏻💻 (@Deena_Zaru) September 26, 2018
The United Nations is a fun crowd!
Pres. Trump on audience reaction to comment during #UNGA speech: "They weren't laughing at me, they were laughing with me. We had fun." https://t.co/e5HXLLUEu6 pic.twitter.com/cr4rFyzN6s
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) September 26, 2018
This article has been updated.